The most famous name in British sound reproduction, Tannoy is better known for its historically large PA and Prestige series loudspeakers than models as tiny as this Revolution DC4.
However, the company, currently part of the Danish ProAudio TC Group, has always sought to cover all possible speaker bases, mostly with variations on its long-standing proprietary Dual Concentric drive unit technology.
In their smallest iterations yet, these little 100mm DC drivers are key elements in Tannoy's new Revolution and Revolution Signature ranges. Indeed, versions of this same basic drive unit first appeared in Tannoy's even smaller Arena AV satellite speakers partnered by an extra bass driver in the Revolution DC4T floorstander.
Now it's the turn of the baby in the line-up, the £349 Revolution DC4, a tiny 3.4 litre standmount with just a solitary 100mm Dual Concentric driver in a ported, tapered subminiature enclosure. The speakers are finished in real wood veneer, with the choice of 'light oak' or dark 'espresso' options.
The enclosure back is narrower than the front, so parallel sides are avoided, giving a trapezoidal plan section. The alloy trim used on the front port of the Signatures is here replaced by a simple untrimmed rear port. And the fifth driver-frame earthing terminal has been left out of this less costly model.
The driver has a cone area around 80mm in diameter, roughly two-thirds of those used in the 130mm units most commonly found in miniature speakers. . The driver's coated paper cone diaphragm is driven by a 33mm voice coil, while the tweeter has a 19mm titanium dome, hidden down the tulip waveguide horn.
The outside edge of the drive unit has a shiny trim ring, while the grille is held by magnets hidden beneath the veneer. Twin terminal pairs provide bi-wire or bi-amp options and the internal components have been specifically selected for sound quality.
Quality of sound
Finding the right place to put these little Tannoys took quite a bit of effort, partly because the best siting turned out to be rather unexpected. You might expect a speaker this small to work well close to a wall, but results were unpromising.
Surprisingly, best results were found with the speakers about 45cm out and on 60cm stands. Now the little DC4 was able to show what it could do, which might be rather limited in terms of bass weight and extension and also dynamic grip and expression, but is essentially very well-balanced, nicely coherent and also quite smooth. As such, it's capable of delivering an attractively neutral and open sound with good stereo imaging.
It's pretty effective at dealing with relatively undemanding, simple material – speech, small acoustic combos and suchlike. What it doesn't do is cope with large scale orchestral, or the organ in a medieval cathedral.
The DC4 doesn't do quite enough on its own, but its progressive roll off below 90Hz looks perfect for marrying up nicely with a sub. Then it will start to make real sense.